How Can I Use Images to Improve My SEO?

Can your website’s images really help improve your ranking and visibility in search? Absolutely!

On this page, we’ll give you a few crucial image SEO tips that you can use to instantly improve your website and give your search engine optimization a boost. Even if you know a little bit about SEO, keep reading — you might learn something new!

The importance of image alt text

When you add an image to a website, whether you do this through a CMS (content management system) or by hand, there’s an “alt text” attribute that you usually are asked to define. If you don’t fill this out, you are missing one of the most important aspects of image SEO!

Alt text essentially tells visitors to your website, in the case of an image that does not load, what that image contains. So if your image of a red dress doesn’t load, but the alt text says “red dress,” they’ll know what the image contains.

Search engines, of course, can’t see images in the same way you and I can. So they rely on the alt text to determine the contents of an image. In the same way that the “red dress” alt text tells a visitor what your image should be, it tells a search engine what that image actually is. If you use three or four images of red dresses on a single page, a search engine can make an assumption that your page is about red dresses, and should stand a better chance at ranking for that keyword.

Thus, if you don’t fill out the alt text for your images, you’re missing out on an important aspect of SEO. Fill in those descriptions right away!

Filenames are important, too

What you name your images is important as well. Do a Google Images search for something like “image1” or “photo” sometime — you’ll be surprised by how many results you get!

Although you and I don’t see the filenames of the images on websites, search engines do. If your image files are named “red_dress” instead of “photo_1_2014” or “img_2000384,” search engines will be able to better determine what the contents of your images are. Again, you’ll stand a better chance of ranking for that keyword if it’s in your filename (although this certainly isn’t the only ranking factor).

Another thing to consider: if someone is searching Google Images for images of a red dress, your filename will definitely matter here! A file named “photo_1_2014” won’t show up, but “red_dress” will… and someone who views your image may view your website, too!

Reduce your filesizes

Both search engines and website visitors take pages that take a long time to load. One of the most common culprits of this issue is images.

You should reduce the sizes of the images on your website as much as you possibly can. Don’t just resize the image using HTML and assume it will load faster just because it looks smaller — in fact, this still takes a lot of time.

Try using the “Save for Web” option in Photoshop or online image compression tools like Kraken.io to make your image filesizes smaller, but still preserve much of the quality.

These are just three ways that you can improve your site’s SEO and ranking with images. If you’re looking for more tips, check out this free guide: Guide to Image SEO. This marketing guide contains additional ways that you can optimize your images for search and increase your traffic using the power of Google Images.

Have any questions about image SEO or the report you received from us? Feel free to let us know. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

How Can I Get More Search Engine Traffic?

Is your search engine traffic very low? Are you trying to find ways to increase it and get more visitors to your site? On this page, we offer a few ideas to help you accomplish this task, as well as some resources that you can use to grow your site and improve your online presence.

We’ll start with keyword targeting, which is one of the ways you can make the biggest difference in the amount of traffic you receive from Google.

Make sure you’re targeting the right keywords

One of the most common mistakes that companies make is going after very broad, highly competitive keywords on their websites. For example, if you sell bicycles, common sense would dictate that you should target “bicycles” on your website, right?

However, someone searching for the word “bicycle” could have several things in mind — the intent really isn’t clear. They could be researching types of bikes, looking for photos, wanting to buy a bike, or maybe they don’t actually know what a bicycle is or how it works! So even if you ranked #1 for this word, your sales might be extremely low because a large percentage of people searching this word aren’t ready to buy.

Also, you could run into the situation where a majority of the people who want to find or buy your product don’t even use the phrase you think they use. What if you target “buy bicycles” but most of your potential customers instead search for “buy bikes” or “buy mountain bikes”? If you target the wrong keywords, your traffic will be low, and your sales may be suffering.

This is one of the most common issues we see. Fortunately, it’s very easy to fix — it just takes a little research.

Target more long-tail keywords

In the example above, we talked about targeting “bicycles” as opposed to “buy mountain bikes.” “Buy mountain bikes” is a long-tail keyword — that is, a keyword that may have lower such volume, but shows a higher level of intent (and in this case, interest in making a purchase).

If you target these long-tail keywords on your site, you may see a drop in traffic from the “big” keywords you think you should be going after, but overall, your traffic and sales from longer-tail keywords will jump up. Overall, getting more traffic isn’t hugely important — it’s getting traffic that converts that really matters.

In our example above, your store might go from targeting the keyword “bicycles” to targeting “buy mountain bikes,” “buy bicycle parts,” or even “buy bicycles in [city].” This will bring your site traffic from people more likely to make a purchase, who have already done their research and may be price shopping. Give them a good deal and you have this in the bag!

We have a free guide that can help you both improve your keyword targeting and identify valuable long-tail keywords to use on your website. You can download it for free here!

Improve your website’s SEO

Of course, keyword targeting is only one piece of the puzzle. Your site’s overall search engine-friendliness matters, too. If your site is not fast, well-optimized, sporting a lot of links, and using keywords in the right places, your traffic may remain low.

There are a lot of ways you can improve your website’s SEO. By improving your SEO, you are making it more visible in search engines for a variety of keywords, which will increase your traffic. To learn about these methods, just take a look through our resources section to learn about them!

Add more original content

Does your website consist of a few pages about your business, history, products or services, and how to contact you? If so, this could be why you aren’t getting much traffic from search engines.

Google likes fresh, original content, and prefers to show users sites that have a lot of it. Also, website content like articles, blog posts, and guides give you more ways to add the keywords you are targeting to your site, which can in turn help you rank better and attract more visitors to your site.

If you do not already have one, consider starting a blog or opening a knowledge base to write about the topics you are an authority on — it will help you more than you may realize!

Start scaling your traffic

If you already have an initial flow of traffic to your site, start working on scaling it. There are several ways you can do this, depending on which stage of growth you are in, but you should look into the following:

  • Pay-per-click ads (ex. Google AdWords)
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Word of mouth promotion
  • Offline marketing methods
  • Advanced SEO tactics (link building, content marketing, lead generation, CRO, etc.)

For additional resources that can help you increase your website traffic and improve your visibility in search, check out these three free guides:

If you have any questions about increasing your search engine traffic, or are confused by any of the things on the report you received from us, please don’t hesitate to let us know! We would be more than happy to help you make sense of your results and give you some additional tips to improve your website and increase your traffic.

How Can I Get More Links to My Website?

Links are one of the most important factors that Google uses to determine how well your website ranks compared to others. If you do not have a lot of links pointing to your site, you may be wondering how to increase those links and boost your site authority and ranking.

Here are a few ways that you can get more links and improve this area on your report.

Ask for links from relevant websites

Sometimes getting a link is as easy as asking for it. If you are in contact with others in your industry who are willing to link you, this can be a simple way to boost your site’s authority and visibility.

If you run an ecommerce website, you may be able to be linked by manufacturers from a store locator or list of approved resellers. Or if you run a valuable resource of some kind for your industry, you could be linked by other websites who maintain a list of resources similar to yours.

Create content that attracts links

If you are not already participating in some kind of content marketing program, consider starting one. Research has found that websites with blogs earn approximately 97% more links than those without. You can also invest in articles, guides, infographics, or videos — any other type of content that people in your target market might get excited about and want to share with other people.

If you are routinely creating and sharing this content, it may naturally attract links from others.

Pitch your content to other websites

Of course, your content may not always attract links, especially if your website is new or not yet in a growth stage. So you may have to do some manual work to earn the links you need.

You can accomplish this by contacting websites you want to obtain links from and asking them to look at, and consider linking to, your content. You may ask them to include your website as a resource on a page that already exists, or to link to a new piece of content you’ve created as the basis for a future blog post or article (assuming they have an interest in the content you created).

Create content for others

Finally, you can create content for other websites and obtain links this way. The links you obtain may be through guest posts that you create for other blogs that have links to your content throughout, or you may have a link to your website in your author byline. Either way, this method is mutually beneficial, as it allows another website to benefit from your content and you to benefit from a link.

These are four simple ways that you can obtain links to your website. For a few more ideas, check out these articles:

Have any questions about obtaining links to your website, and how they can help improve your score and boost your rankings? Or do you need help interpreting the results of your website grader report? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you with whatever you need.

Where Should I Use Keywords on My Website?

If the level of keyword usage on your website is fairly low, you may be struggling to locate additional opportunities to use your targeted words or phrases. Where can you add these keywords to improve your search engine rankings and boost your online visibility?

There are a wide variety of locations where you can use keywords — more than you may know about. Here are a few locations where you can use keywords to help your website’s SEO.

In your page titles

Every page on your website should have a unique title, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using the keywords you’re targeting in them. In fact, your page titles are one of the most important places that your keywords can (and should) appear.

Adding keywords in your page titles don’t just tell search engines that the page in question is about that subject. They also tell human beings that the pages they’re seeing in search results are about that subject. People are more likely to click a result if they see the phrase they’re searching for in the page title.

You don’t have to list the keywords separated by commas just to get them in there — try to write a sentence in sensible English that naturally includes the targeted word or phrase instead.

In your header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)

When you are creating individual pages for your website, you may either manually or automatically set header tags to separate your content and signal where new sections begin. In HTML, these are signified by tags beginning with H — like H1, H2, and so on.

Your keywords should appear in these tags where possible. In fact, search engines tend to prefer to see your targeted keyword in your H1 tag, which is considered the most important one on the page (and usually the largest). The H1 is like a newspaper headline: it tells the visitor what the entire page is about.

To find out how to check your pages for a H1 tag, and to learn more about using header tags for SEO, check out our article Can a H1 Tag Improve My SEO?

In your copy

The body of your webpages is another important place where your targeted keywords should appear. Adding these keywords here both tells users that they are reading a relevant page, and tells search engines that your page is relevant.

You should use your keywords several times on the pages you want to rank for them, but avoid keyword stuffing or using them so often it looks unnatural. Try to write about the topic in question naturally, as if you were having a conversation with someone about it.

In your image alt text

When you add an image to an individual page on your website, there is usually an “alt text” or “alternate text” field that you are asked to fill out. Do you normally leave this blank? If you do, it could be hurting your SEO!

The alt text attribute performs a specific duty: if, for some reason, your image doesn’t load, the text you enter here tells the visitor to your website what they would normally see. It adds context and keeps them from being too confused. However, since search engines can’t “see” images like humans can, the alt text also allows them to “read” it and know what the image actually is.

It’s in this way that adding alt text to an image can help your SEO, even just slightly. If you add five images of red cars to a page about the history of red cars, and the alt text all says “red car,” Google can make an even stronger assumption that you have an authoritative page about red cars that should rank highly for that phrase.

You can learn more about using images for SEO in this free marketing guide.

In your links

Another place you should consider using keywords is in the text you use to link other pages on your website. The way you link to both your website and other websites can have an impact on SEO. When you or someone else create a link to a page on your website, the text you choose when linking that page can have an impact on how that page potentially ranks. This is called anchor text.

Essentially, if you link to a page about blue cars with the anchor text “blue cars,” you are telling users that the destination page is about blue cars, and also telling search engines that you think the page is relevant to (and should rank for) the phrase “blue cars.” On the other hand, although website visitors may be understand what you mean when you say “click here” on a link, search engines don’t. You are essentially telling them that you think the destination page should rank for “click here” instead of the actual subject.

We explain anchor text in-depth in this additional page, Why is Anchor Text in Links So Important?

In your meta description

Finally, meta descriptions are one last place where you should aim to use the words and phrases you want to rank for. As you may already know, using keywords in your meta description does not actually directly help with your website’s SEO. However, if the keywords are present there, they can tell searchers that your page is relevant to what they are looking for, and make them more likely to click on your page in the search results.

To fully understand how your website’s meta descriptions can affect its performance in search, read this article: How Do Meta Descriptions Help My Website?

Have any additional questions about where or how to use keywords on your site? Or are you having trouble making sense of your report? Feel free to reach out to us at any time. We would be happy to help you!

How Do Meta Descriptions Help My Website?

If you were confused by the meta description portion of your website grader report, be confused no more! On this page you’ll learn everything you need to know about meta descriptions, including how you can use them to better educate your website visitors about the content contained in the pages of your site.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is a tag that is set in the HTML (or code) for each specific page on your website. If you are looking at your website’s HTML, it will probably look something like this:

<head>
<meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description for my webpage!”>
</head>

A meta description is designed to give people who have found your page through a search a small preview of what that page contains. The description can be set manually by editing the HTML above (replacing the portion in quotes after “content”), which is considered a best practice as far as SEO is concerned.

If a meta description is not manually set for a page, Google will usually try to pick one itself. Typically the meta description selected will come from the first few sentences of the article or page in question, or whatever Google thinks is most relevant to the user’s query.

How do meta descriptions help website visitors?

The meta description of a page or piece of content on your website is meant to help searchers determine whether or not your content will give them the answer they’re looking for. So by writing a manual meta description for each page on your website, you have an opportunity to tell searchers that that page contains, and perhaps whether or not it can supply that answer.

Meta descriptions that contain keywords also tell searchers that the results are relevant to their search. So if you are targeting the phrase “apples” with a page on your site, and this keyword already appears in your title tag, H1, and body copy, you should also put “apples” somewhere in your meta description. This will reaffirm that your page has something to do with apples. If the keyword doesn’t appear, the user may be confused or assume your site has nothing to do with their query.

Do meta descriptions have any impact on ranking?

Meta descriptions do not directly impact your website’s ranking in searches. What this means is that putting your targeted keywords in a page’s meta description won’t help you rank any higher for that keyword, as it might if you put that same keyword in a page’s title, H1 tag, or body copy. Google announced in 2009 that their ranking algorithms did not include meta descriptions, and this has not changed.

However, meta descriptions can indirectly impact your ranking, because they can lead to more people coming to your website who read your meta description and are interested in the content of your page. If your meta description is for some reason misleading, these visitors may quickly leave your site, or bounce — and the higher your bounce rate, the worse you’ll rank for your targeted keywords. This is how a poor meta description can have an indirect impact on your SEO.

How can I write strong meta descriptions?

The first thing to be aware of is that there is a character limit on meta descriptions. This limit is roughly 155-160 characters. If your description is longer, Google will truncate it.

Secondly, make sure that the meta description you write for each page is unique. Even if search engines don’t use these descriptions to determine how well you rank for a keyword, they do prefer each page of a website to have different text associated with it. So the best way to signify to both users and search engines that you have a wide variety of pages is to write a variety of meta descriptions.

To write a strong meta description, try putting yourself in the shoes of the person you think will be searching for the page you are working on. For example, if you are writing a page to answer the question “how do widgets work?” your meta description might be something like “wondering how widgets work? This page will tell you the answer!”

Your meta description should be a good mix of content that is in plain, easy to comprehend English and compelling ad copy that makes visitors want to click and learn more. Since you only have a limited amount of space, you will have to keep things simple, but you should also try to make searchers curious, excited, and interested.

Hopefully this page gave you some helpful tips on how setting manual meta descriptions can improve your website! If you still have questions about the topic of meta descriptions, or need any help deciphering the results of your report, feel free to contact us at any time. We’d be happy to lend a hand!

Why is Anchor Text in Links So Important?

One of the factors on your report was the amount of links containing anchor text. If you don’t have a lot of these links, you may be wondering what anchor text is, and what makes it so important.

Let’s take a closer look at anchor text, and why it matters from both a user perspective and for SEO. We’ll also discuss some ways that you can acquire anchor text-rich links, which can help you improve your rankings and website authority.

What is anchor text?

Take a look at this link: click here!

In the case of the link above, “click here” is the anchor text. Anchor text is the text that makes up a link – basically, the text that is usually underlined and colored blue, on most websites, to signify that there’s a link in the middle of the content you’re reading.

Why is it called anchor text? Great question! In HTML (the code used to create webpages), a link has two “anchors” at each end, signified with an <a> symbol. That’s why the text between them is called “anchor text.”

Why is anchor text important to website visitors?

Anchor text in links tells visitors browsing through websites, pages, and pieces of content what links are, and what the destination pages (should) contain.

Anchor text like “click here” doesn’t really tell a visitor what that link leads to. It could lead to anything! But anchor text like “click here to read an article about the importance of anchor text” is highly specific, and tells you exactly what to expect when you click.

How does anchor text impact SEO?

As you may already know, the number of high quality links you have pointing to your website can have a big impact on its appearance in search engines. But the mere presence of these links on other websites isn’t all that impacts your ranking in search. Anchor text can affect it, too.

Anchor text doesn’t just give website visitors context – it gives search engines context, too. Basically, if someone links to your website using specific anchor text, they are voting for your website to rank for that anchor text.

Let’s say you were going to add a link to our website from yours. There are a couple ways you might do this:

  • A cool tool I found
  • A free website grader
  • Grade My Website
  • com

All four of these ways are basically casting a vote with Google (and other search engines), saying “this website should rank for this text.”

What do you think would happen if a hundred websites linked to us with the text “A free website grader”? That’s right: we’d probably rank #1 for that phrase!

Anchor text and link building

However, you should be cautious when trying to build links to your website that all have strong anchor text related to the keywords you want to rank for, or even for the name of your business. As search engines involve and their algorithms become more advanced, they’re able to pick up on unnatural behavior more easily.

If you acquire a lot of links, and they all contain the same anchor text, your site may start to look suspicious. Also, if those links didn’t come from very high quality websites, this could result in some penalties being applied to your site that actually hurt your ranking instead of helping it.

Google wants to see natural links with natural anchor text. When people link webpages naturally, they tend to do a mixture of the four examples we listed above. So when you are acquiring links, you should also aim for a healthy mixture – otherwise, you may run into problems.

We hope this page has helped you get a better idea of what anchor text and why it is important for both users and SEO! Have any more questions about anchor text, search engine optimization, or the report you received from us? Feel free to reach out to us at any time!